With night time temperatures in the single digits, lots of folks are understandably concerned for those on the street or without heat. Of course, we at the Walla Walla Alliance for the Homeless are also concerned, and has been working with City officials on a relocated site with vastly improved facilities. It will open in April at the corner of Rees Avenue and 15th.
For now, about 40 people continue to tough it out in their Conestoga huts. The unheated shelters are dry and insulated, so they are about 20 degrees warmer inside than outside. Someone who bundles up can sleep safely through the night. Most of the Sleeping Center’s regulars choose this option, preferring to stay with their possessions and avoid the drama that often comes with staying at a shelter that sleeps people in one large room.
For those who want or need a warmer setting, Christian Aid Center has opened up additional space during extreme cold. They also relax their rules a bit so almost any man or woman can spend the night there. However, they do not have provisions for couples or those with pets. Thankfully, New Beginnings Chapel is also open for those who don’t use Christian Aid. Couples and people with a pet are welcome there.
Long term, however, the Sleeping Center is eagerly awaiting its better facilities. The City has purchased two surplus portable classroom units for the new Center. The Alliance for the Homeless will renovate one of the buildings into office and meeting space so that people can get out of the cold and warm up. People staying at the Sleeping Center are generally in their huts by 10pm, but can get warm before bedding down for the night.
We need this new facility yesterday, but at least it is coming soon!